You’ll never run out of entertainment options at Disney theme parks. However, one of them doesn’t receive all the credit it deserves.
When many people think of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, they focus on the animal encounters. But, friends, that’s only helped the park experience!
Here are ten things you can do at Animal Kingdom that have nothing to do with animals!
Admire the Beacon of Magic
Walt Disney World has turned its various landmarks into illuminated works of art. However, this modification isn’t permanent because it’s part of the 50th-anniversary celebration.
So, you have a limited amount of time to enjoy this particular activity. Therefore, you should hang out near the Tree of Life at dusk.
As the sun vanishes and twilight begins, the Tree of Life lights up as a Beacon of Magic. It looks a little something like this:
Capture a Dinosaur
When’s the last time you traveled back to the Cretaceous period and performed a good, old-fashioned dino nabbing?
On DINOSAUR, you go on a grand adventure through time. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to retrieve a dinosaur.
Do not worry. You’re not chasing after one of the scary ones that might eat you. And I’m not spoiling anything to say the dinosaur never gets in your car.
You’re merely on a scientific expedition, and you’ll have the time of your life.
Catch the live show
We all love The Lion King, right? The story of Simba’s ascension to the king of the jungle has resonated with Disney fans for roughly 30 years now.
At Animal Kingdom, you can catch the live show, one with Tumble Monkeys, who will vaguely remind you of Cirque du Soleil.
That’s because many of the performers have trained in that discipline.
So, Festival of the Lion King marries a timeless story with stunning gymnastics and even some audience participation!
Disney had offered a modified version of this presentation during the pandemic. However, the real thing returns in July to remind us of its greatness!
Escape the Yeti
For many years, Imagineers heard a frequent criticism in the theme park industry. “Disney is just for kids.” And, like Michael Jordan, they took that personally.
In 2006, Animal Kingdom debuted a stunning roller coaster, Expedition Everest. It kicked so much tail that it remains the alpha of Florida 15+ years later.
On Expedition Everest, you take what seems like an innocuous trip on a train. However, the situation quickly takes a turn.
You find yourself zooming through a dark mountain, fearing all the while that the allegedly fictional Yeti may be real. It is. And you may not survive the encounter.
This ride is pure joy.
Gaze at the Splendor of Bioluminescence
You’ll want to spend a lot of time at Pandora – The World of Avatar. While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge earns most of the hype, I believe Pandora is better.
Imagineers somehow recreated the Floating Mountains from the movie, Avatar. However, that’s not even the most impressive feat.
Disney also embraced the concept of bioluminescence, something you likely know best from fireflies.
Do you know how they glow? That’s due to a unique chemical trait in their bodies. The plants of Pandora display the same behavior.
So, when you visit Pandora at night, the plant life creates a warming glow that will break your brain with its splendor.
Look, Florida gets hot in mid-April and stays that way into mid-October. So most of the time you visit, you’ll feel the heat.
You’ll want to cool down, and theme park fans instinctively know the best way to do that. It’s by jumping on a wet ride.
Animal Kingdom hosts the second-best one at Walt Disney World. Kali River Rapids hides a powerful environmental message on its ride.
However, you don’t need to understand/appreciate that story to know how happy you are as you get soaked on the ride.
I should warn you that the wait times get a bit crazy during the summer months, as everyone knows that Kali River Rapids will soak you.
Even Splash Mountain doesn’t consistently douse guests the way that Kali River Rapids does.
Learn How to Draw
Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom provides innumerable opportunities to admire the park’s residents, the animals.
What you may not know is that Conservation Station also hosts The Animation Experience. Here, you will learn to draw some of your favorite Disney characters.
Now, I will confess that I have never created any illustration that looks like anything other than an ugly rock.
I have watched my more talented wife draw an exceptional Goofy, though. And that was after just one class!
Take a picture by the tree
The Beacon of Light aspect of the Tree of Life isn’t permanent. It’s only here throughout Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
That event ends in March of 2023. So, you still have plenty of time to catch it. But the Tree of Life will also anchor Animal Kingdom as its landmark.
I cannot tell you how many pictures I have taken at the Tree of Life over the years. It’s actually accidentally chronicled my appearance throughout the years.
Every few months, I snap a new pic at the Tree of Life. So, I could create a whole collage solely from the times I’ve stood here and said cheese.
You want these sorts of mementos when you look back at your past vacations. So this one’s a must!
Plus, you’ll feed off the contact high of all the other thrilled Disney guests doing the same thing. For some of them, it’s their first time.
Their joy at looking at the tree will increase your happiness as well. Just don’t ruin the moment for them by letting them know that the tree is artificial!
Visit Virtual Pandora
Pandora as a whole is sublime. Still, fans acknowledge that one part of this themed land stands above the rest.
I’m speaking of Avatar Flight of Passage. This ride takes the mechanics of Soarin’ Around the World and joins them with an augmented reality trip through Pandora.
This ride comes with a massive wow factor that will delight you. It feels like the future of theme park entertainment.
You’ll know that what you’re seeing isn’t real, but you’ll buy into the illusion anyway. For five minutes, you’ll genuinely believe you’re visiting Pandora. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Wave to the Boats
During the pandemic, Disney improvised to maintain some form of character interactions at the parks.
Guests couldn’t directly engage with characters due to social distancing requirements. So, Disney added various park sightings.
The most inventive of these occurred at Animal Kingdom. Disney started sticking various characters like Chip and Dale on boats and driving them around the water.
You may not realize how much of the middle of Animal Kingdom includes water, but it’s a surprising amount.
So, many of the walkways and bridges include views of these “Flotillas” of Disney characters.
Even though the parks are offering full character interactions again, Animal Kingdom has kept the Flotillas due to guest opinion.
We love them, and they’ve quickly become one of the best parts of an Animal Kingdom visit.
When you’re lucky, you’ll experience two or three in a single day. You should stop and watch each one! They’re all phenomenal!
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Platinum level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!